The widely successful efforts to legalize and decriminalize cannabis have dramatically shifted the conversation on the drug. Emphasizing cannabis’ myriad health and wellness benefits as well as the historical harms and injustices of criminalization, those efforts have downplayed the drug’s potential risks. But for the same reasons that researchers have only a vague understanding of cannabis’ medicinal effects, their knowledge about what contributes to cannabis misuse and abuse, and how, is also limited.
With instances of cannabis use disorder (CUD) on the rise, researches say understanding cannabis dependency and addiction is just as important as understanding how to best use it as medicine. And a new study in the journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence is delving into the causes and consequences of the recent rise in CUD.
Nine Percent of Cannabis Users Will Develop a Dependency
Cannabis is much less addictive than drugs like heroin or cocaine. Only an estimated nine percent of cannabis consumers will develop a dependence on it. Compare that to heroin, which hooks about 25 percent of its users. But the rate of cannabis use is much, much higher than heroin or other hard drugs. So that nine percent actually impacts a far greater number of people.